Tigers one win short of area championship

Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009

DEMOPOLIS — Chilton County’s quest for the AHSAA Class 5A, Area 5 title ended with a 9-1 loss to DHS in the finals of the area tournament Tuesday.

“I think we’re fairly evenly matched. I felt like we were neck and eck with them,” CCHS head coach Krisi Parrish said of the her team’s three tournament games against Dempolis. “It could have gone either way.”

In the teams’ first meeting of the day, Chilton took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Bevin Hawkins reached on an error before coming around to score on another DHS miscue.

After Demopolis tied the game in the third inning, Chilton’s Rachel ohnston reached on an infield hit before scoring on an April Lewis RBI single to put CCHS back in the driver’s seat. The lead proved short-lived as Demopolis responded in the fourth inning and then erupted for three runs in the fifth to take a 5-2 lead.

Chilton then chipped away, plating Lindsey Parrish in the fifth inning on a Johnston RBI and then pushing another run across in the sixth on a passed ball.

DHS added two more in the seventh to go on to a 7-4 win. Chilton then heated its bats up early and often against Selma, striking for 25 runs in the first two innings en route to a 25-2 win.

The highlight of the 13-run second inning came from Johnston, who led the inning off with a solo home run before returning to the plate ater in the frame to belt a three-run shot. The win eliminated Selma from the tournament and required Chilton to pull off two consecutive wins over Demopolis in order to capture the area crown.

The Lady Tigers’ chances looked bleak when they trailed 4-0 in the second inning. Krisi Parrish then handed the ball to Kadie Coker, who proceeded to limit Demopolis to one hit and one walk while striking out seven over five and two-thirds innings of work.

Coker received offensive support in the fourth inning in form of an RBI triple from Tiffany Crowson and an RBI sacrifice from Mary Katherine Graham.

Down 4-2 in the sixth, Chilton put together its first major rally of the game. Johnston took the DHS defense by surprise when she dropped down a leadoff bunt that ignited a seven-run rally. Johnston, Hawkins, Lewis, Crowson, Graham, Bridget Robinson and Kristin Nelson each scored in the inning.

Coker slammed the door in the seventh with a pair of strikeouts to seal the 9-4 win and force a decisive fifth tournament game.

In that final game, Lauren Stewart scored in the third inning on a Hawkins double for the only CCHS run of the game. Coker appeared primed to make the lead stand up until a series of errors led to a three-run Demopolis fourth inning.

The two errors committed by CCHS in the fourth inning, made the fourth and fifth miscues of the game for the Lady Tigers.

“They were really up until we made some mistakes,” Krisi Parrish said of her team’s mentality in the tournament’s final game.

Demopolis pulled away in the seventh inning when it used six hits and two additional Chilton errors to score six runs and push the score to its eventual final tally of 9-1.

The loss marked the fourth consecutive game CCHS played on the day.

The runner-up status in the area advances the team to the AHSAA South Central Regional Tournament in Montgomery Friday. There, CCHS will likely feature a different look as six players will reportedly miss due to the school’s prom.

“I’m going to be working people in different positions,” Krisi Parrish said of her approach over the next two days. “It’s a bad situation for us with prom being the same night as the tournament.”